Rockne Roll/News-Register##
Jeremy Hopper II reacts to the verdict in his manslaughter trial Monday at the Yamhill County Circuit Court.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## Jeremy Hopper II reacts to the verdict in his manslaughter trial Monday at the Yamhill County Circuit Court.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##
Jeremy Hopper II is  escorted out of a Yamhill County circuit courtroom by sheriff s Sgt. Jeremy Ruby after the guilty verdict was read in Hopper s manslaughter trial Monday at the Yamhill County Courthouse.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## Jeremy Hopper II is escorted out of a Yamhill County circuit courtroom by sheriff's Sgt. Jeremy Ruby after the guilty verdict was read in Hopper's manslaughter trial Monday at the Yamhill County Courthouse.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##
McMinnville defense attorney Amanda Marshall  confers with defendant Jeremy Hopper II during his manslaughter trial Monday in Yamhill County Circuit Court.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## McMinnville defense attorney Amanda Marshall confers with defendant Jeremy Hopper II during his manslaughter trial Monday in Yamhill County Circuit Court.
By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Jury finds Hopper guilty of manslaughter

A jury deliberated less than one hour Monday before finding Jeremy Hopper II guilty on 10 of 11 charges in his street-racing manslaughter trial in Yamhill County Circuit Court.

Hopper will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 2. Until that time, he will be held without bail in local custody.

The prosecution, led by state Department of Justice attorney Kristen Hoffmeyer, and Hopper’s defense team of Brent Goodfellow and Amanda Marshall, both of McMinnville,  called 14 and seven witnesses, respectively, during the five-day trial.

The prosecution rested last Friday. The state wrapped up its case Monday, calling Hopper to the witness stand. Washington County Judge Andrew Erwin then ordered the jury to begin deliberating, and it didn’t take the six men and six women long to reach a verdict, which was delivered just before 6 o'clock Monday.

Jurors found the the 24-year-old Hopper, who most recently has been living in Carlton but has resided in other Yamhill Valley towns, unanimously guilty on one count each of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving, in addition to three counts of recklessly endangering another person.

He was found guilty by an 11-1 margin on two counts of  recklessly endangering and unanimously acquitted on a third count.

First-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault are Measure 11 crimes that fall under mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines — almost 16 years total.

Hopper, who was driving a 2010 Mitsibushi Evo high-performance car last March 4, lost control of the vehicle, crossed an unobstructed median north of McMinnville on Highway 99W and crashed head-on into a Honda Odyssey van, claiming the life of  Claudio Martinez, 43, of McMinnville, and critically injuring 19-year-old Natasha Fisher, Hopper’s then-girlfriend, who was riding with him.

Co-defendant Andrew Olsen, 23, accepted a plea agreement on the eve of trial — one that figures to send him to prison for between 5 and 7 ½ years.

The courtroom was packed when the verdict was announced. Family members and friends of the victims, in addition to Hopper, filled both sides of the room.

See Friday's print edition for additional details..

Comments

Joel2828

Something just doesn't feel right about this. No doubt he deserved some punishment for being so careless and another human being losing their life as a result of his carelessness. But 16 years in prison?? And a jury that would do that to him after talking about it for less than an hour. I just feel kind of sick inside as I read about this. It doesn't feel right.

sisinmac

I hope people learn from this young man's actions. Life is precious, in the blink of an eye it can be gone, or irretrievably changed. Much of his life gone in prison, one life gone forever and another young life changed forever. No matter his punishment, it has an end. None of the other folks injured or killed have an end to their nightmare. Please think of this each time you get behind a steering wheel, for everybody's sake.

bonnybedlam

Reading about the true extent of Miss Fisher's injuries, 16 years sounds like a light sentence. I hope the judge goes as far as possible in insuring this irresponsible man-child doesn't have another opportunity to devastate the lives of other innocent people. While he's been in jail awaiting trial, she's been in the hospital having one painful surgery after another. Her skull has been disassembled for so long it's unlikely to fit right when the time comes to put it back together and she will probably never hold a job or even live independently. Her body is a prison she will live in forever, her life over almost as effectively as that of the man Hopper murdered with his childish showing off. It seems like some people think the lives of a young woman and a Latino man are worth less than that of a white man. I sincerely hope the sentence ultimately handed down proves me wrong.

Paul Daquilante

bonnybedlam . . .

Just for clarification, Jeremy Hopper II was out of custody awaiting trial. Bail was posted following his initial arrest. However, he is back in custody on a no-bail hold awaiting his March 2 sentencing hearing.

Paul Daquilante / reporter

Mudstump

This is the nightmare that many, if not all, parents envision when raising a young adult. The thought that your kid may make a terrible choice. I can't say how many times I had "the talk" with my son, now 27 years old. We warn, we teach, we lecture, and we try to lead by example, but what they decide in those moments when we aren't with them is out of our control. We try to tell our kids that in the blink of an eye a bad decision can alter the course of their life and the lives of others forever. The only good that can come of this is that others might learn from these young men's tragic actions and make better choices.

Joel2828

Well said Mudstump. Seems like you and I disagree on pretty much every political article here on the NR but I'm in perfect agreement with you on this.

Mudstump

Thank you Joel2828. The love and care parents have for their children and the wish they navigate life with as few bumps along the way as is possible to lead a happy, healthy and successful life is universal imo.

Cheryl

Life is so precious and in a blink of an eye it can be over. Hopefully when Jeremy Hopper II goes to prison, he turns his mistakes into a teaching tool for the young people out there to educate them not to make the same mistakes he did behind the wheel of a car. All the lives destroyed because of his big lapse of judgement. Andrew Olsen manned up...Speaks volume about his character. Prayers for all the victims and their families!!

Bizzyditchaz

I feel ok about 16 year sentence! Distracted driving and not remembering that driving is a privilege, not a right! Driving needs to be treated with the respect and understanding that we are behind the wheel of a lethal weapon and need to conduct accordingly!

Seabiscuit

Mudstump: "The love and care parents have for their children and the wish they navigate life with as few bumps along the way as is possible to lead a happy, healthy and successful life is universal imo."

I fully concur with this and your previous post. For once we are in complete agreement

Joel2828, I could not disagree more with your very first post. 16 years to me is not sufficient and at the least minimal.

This man, with complete recklessness and total disregard for the safety and well being of his fellow human beings, has acted as judge, jury and executioner for one person and severely crippled and removed a young lady from any semblance of normal life and done untoward damage to a 3rd.

In addition to the direct victims, there are "collateral" victims and damages with so many family and friends. Futures completely stolen and that can never be returned.

"And a jury that would do that to him after talking about it for less than an hour. I just feel kind of sick inside as I read about this. It doesn't feel right."

A jury that did what? Their job, sole responsibility was to determine if he was guilty of the crimes which he was charged with. They did their duty.
They are not supposed to think of prison sentences, inconvenience to the defendant or if they are taking a sufficient amount of time to way the evidence and render a proper verdict.

The jury handles "guilty" or "not guilty". The judge and Oregon State Law, some of it voted in by the people, handles the sentence. This wasn't carelessness. This wasn't an "oops I have a flat tire". This was a deliberate, premeditated act of recklessness and total disregard to the possible consequences and value of human life.

May asemblance of peace find its way to the surviving victims, family and friends.

Jeb Bladine

Just for reference:
It's 3 weeks until Hopper is sentenced, thus unknown what the actual sentence will be. The report of 16 years added together sentences for two Measure 11 convictions. However, it's unknown whether the judge will make those sentences run consecutively (for 16 years) or concurrently (for, perhaps, 10 years).
Sentencing is 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 2.

Seabiscuit

Agreed Jeb, but it still doesn't change the fact that the Judge, NOT the jury, regardless of length of deliberation, makes that determination.

Mudstump

Seabiscuit - We seldom f ever agree, but reading your post just made my stomach churn. Not because I disagree with you, but what you said made me think how senseless this whole thing is. My heart breaks for the victims and for these two young men as well. That doesn't mean I think they should get off easy on this...its just so frustrating to know that this could have been avoided. There are no winners here and there is nothing that anyone can do to change what happened. Thank you for your thoughts.

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